Saul’s Two Year Reign, stated in 1 Samuel 13:1. In the first year of Saul’s reign, after he became king, and he reigned two years over Israel.. Since this conflicts with Acts 13:21. And afterward they asked for a king and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.. Which dating do we accept? Other Scriptures in the books of Samuel confirm the two year time.

1 Sam. 7:1 And the men of Kiriat Jearim came and brought back the Ark of the LORD*, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill and sanctified Elazar his son to keep the Ark of the LORD*. 2. And it was, while the Ark remained in Kiriat Jearim, that the time was long, for it was twenty years. And the entire House of Israel mourned after, submitted to, the LORD*. The Ark was in the house of Abinidab during the entire judgeship of Samuel, the reign of Saul, and the first seven and a half years of David’s reign, so obviously Saul could not have reigned for forty years.

After the Ark’s capture by the Philistines at the end of Eli’s judging Israel, the Philistines only kept it for seven months. 1 Sam. 6:1 And the Ark of the LORD* was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners saying, What will we do with the Ark of the LORD*? Tell us how we will send it to its place. 3. And they said, If you send away the Ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty! But in any way return Him a trespass offering, then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you.

6:4. Then they said, What will be the guilt offering which we will return to Him? They an­swered, Five golden piles and five golden mice, according to the number of the leaders of the Philistines, for one plague was on you all and on your leaders. 5. Therefore you will make images of your piles and images of your mice that damage the land and you will give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand from off you and from off your gods and from off your land. 6. Why then do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go and they departed? 7. Now therefore make a new cart and take two milk cows on which there has come no yoke, and tie the cows to the cart and bring their calves home from them. 8. And take the Ark of the LORD* and lay it on the cart, and put jewels of gold, which you return to Him for a guilt offering, in a coffer by its side and send it away, so it can go. 9. And see; if it goes by the way of its own border to Beit Shemesh, He has done us this great evil, but if not, then we will know that it is not His hand that struck us, it was a chance that happened to us.

6:10. And the men did so and took two milk cows and tied them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11. And they laid the Ark of the LORD* on the cart and the box with the mice of gold and the images of their piles. 12. And the cows took the straight way to the way of Beit Shemesh, going along the highway, lowing as they went and did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left, and the leaders of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beit Shemesh.

6:13. And those of Beit Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and they lifted up their eyes and saw the Ark and rejoiced to see it. 14. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beit-Shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone. And they cut the wood of the cart and offered the cows, a burnt ­offering to the LORD*. 15. And the Levites took down the Ark of the LORD* and the box that was with it, in which were the jewels of gold, and put them on the great stone and the men of Beit Shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day to the LORD*.

6:16. And when the five leaders of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day.

David’s seven and a half years while the Ark remained in the house of Abinadab are detailed in 2 Sam. 5:4. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, he reigned forty years. 5. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.

Because Samuel grew old before anointing Saul, we can estimate roughly ten plus years for his term of judging Israel, with two years for Saul, and seven and half plus for David’s share of the twenty years for the ark’s being in the house of Abinadab.

While Samuel’s age is not known, Scripture says he is old. 1 Sam. 8:1. And it was, when Samuel was old,[1] that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah.[2] They were judges in Beer Sheba. 3. But his sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after unjust gain and took bribes and perverted justice. That his sons followed in the footsteps of Eli’s sons must have contributed to the people’s plea for a king, which is another story. For now we see that Saul’s reign was indeed about two years.

[1] (v.1) Since Samuel judged Israel for a maximum of ten and a half years, he served Eli for quite a long time. Eli judged for just forty years, so Samuel could not have been much, if any, over fifty at this time.

[2] (v.2) Abijah means My Father is Yah, short form of His Name. In this Bible the Name is written LORD*. See 1 Chr. 6:3-13.